By Debra Maurer
Photo courtesy of StructureWorks Fabrication
Adding shade to your outdoor living area is key to getting the most use out of your space. Today’s options offer amazing style, convenience, and even smart technology integration.
For adding both shade and style, canopied pergolas are a great option. “The Serenity Solis from our Brown Jordan Structures line is very popular due to its tensioned canopy and the [comfortable] shade it provides,” says Greg Smith, marketing manager at StructureWorks Fabrication. StructureWorks also manufactures remote-controlled Shadeflex and Rainflex motorized pergola canopies. “The real benefit of a motorized canopy is the ease of opening and closing, especially for large canopy sizes,” Smith notes.
Photo courtesy of BioClimatic Structures
Other pergolas are designed with retractable panels, providing targeted shade options. “The frames and panels glide effortlessly, allowing you to decide where you want the shade,” says Nicole Wehmeyer, business manager and co-owner of BioClimatic Structures. The company’s Arlequin pergola features retractable panels in a variety of colors and is a unique design element for outdoor living spaces.
For customizable shade and rain protection, louvered roofs are an ideal investment. They can be adjusted according to the sun’s position and installed as a freestanding structure or extension of an existing roof. “The durable louvers rotate through 160 degrees, providing sun and rain protection, ventilation, temperature control, and brightness [control],” says Wehmeyer. “When closed, they fit perfectly together to form a dedicated gutter system that keeps everything underneath dry.”
Photo courtesy of Arcadia Building Products
The louvered roofs by Arcadia Building Products, Inc., pivot and fully interlock, but incorporation of the Arcadia Slide opens the louvers completely, “giving you a full sky view” at the touch of a button, says Scott Selzer, owner and CEO of Arcadia. Optional rain and wind sensors enable the louvers to open or close automatically, and the system’s iLouver technology allows you to control the louvers and program pre-set positions with your smartphone. “The result is fingertip control and a dynamic connection with your outdoor space,” says Selzer.
Photo Courtesy of ShadeCraft
For a high-tech and portable option, SUNFLOWER by ShadeCraft, Inc., is a solar-powered robotic shade system that moves autonomously as the sun changes position. Slated for release in summer 2018 and equipped with a multitude of sensors, SUNFLOWER retracts automatically during high winds and provides real-time weather information such as humidity, wind speed, UV index, and air quality.
The system is Wi-Fi enabled. Bluetooth connectivity allows users to “easily set up and pair their phone…and stream audio through SUNFLOWER’s built-in speaker system,” says Armen Sevada Gharabegian, founder and CEO of ShadeCraft, Inc. SUNFLOWER operates via the built-in voice command system or remotely through the SmartShade app or website.